Labour, pray tell – was this yet another scam?

Published: October 25, 2010 at 8:18pm


Last year, the Labour Party said it would fight a class action suit to claim back VAT paid on car registration tax, and then scammed thousands of euros off the 14,000 people who queued up outside Labour HQ, telling them that this would go towards legal fees.

Presumably, none of the countless lawyers fussing around at Mile End – including the two deputy leaders and their business consultant Manwel Mallia – were going to do this work pro bono.

Now we have what looks to be yet another scam. Labour allowed people to vote for its new emblem only by price-loaded SMS. This brought in revenue of €20,883, of which an unspecified percentage will go to the Labour Party and the rest to the phone company.

But the process wasn’t at all transparent and we have no way of knowing whether the winning logo was chosen at the outset while the voting and committees were a mise-en-scene and the price-loaded SMSes a scam to raise money so that Labour can pay a couple of Super One salaries this year.

The suspicion that this was a scheme hatched by Labour’s assorted heisters grows when you know that the winning ticket was held by a company chaired by Godfrey Grima – who ‘sponsored’ Joseph Muscat’s MEP candidacy and his successful bid for the party leadership – and run by his daughter’s husband.

Nothing wrong there – their design was by far the best of the slipshod bunch of 200 – but the feeling lingers that it was commissioned at the start and planted among the amateurish designs submitted by the public to make this look like a democratic exercise in having an emblem chosen by the people.

Even that mise-en-scene could have been brushed off as just something typical of Labour, but when you add money to the mix, then matters take on a more serious bent. Asking people to vote for something that has been chosen already, and charging them for doing so, qualifies as a scam.

No doubt, the many lawyers fussing around at Mile End, the ones who wouldn’t work on that class action suit for free, will have made sure that the Labour Party’s backside is covered on this one and that no one can prove anything to the contrary.

Yes, but it still looks pretty bad.

Had the Labour Party gone straight to Godfrey Grima’s company and got it to come up with a design, then nobody would have been able to say anything. I happen to think it’s what the Labour Party should have done in the first place, because for something like this you have to go to a professional outfit. I also happen to suspect it’s what the Labour Party did do, but then tried to disguise the whole thing as a competition with submissions from the public.

I had no idea that communications companies with design studios qualified as ‘members of the public’, but there you go.

The finished design – because apparently, this is still a rough sketch – will be unveiled on 6 November at some kind of ceremony to mark the 90th anniversary of the birth of the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, a statement released by the party tells us that the torch symbolises LIGHT, INTELLECTUALITY, PROGRESS AND LOVE. Unbelievable. The light-filled, loving, progressive intellectual Anglu Farrugia rushed to be the first to comment, beating even Joseph Muscat whose leg must be giving him trouble again: “To me, it is clear that the torch is the light of the future which the Labour Party has always followed to be the progressive party.”

16 Comments Comment

  1. maryanne says:

    “To me, it is clear that the torch is the light of the future which the Labour Party has always followed to be the progressive party.”

    Is this sentence proof of their ‘intellectuality’?

  2. Bob Gauci says:

    Enough of the Budget already – write something interesting, Daphne, like a piece of mockery of the Labour Party. That always makes me feel better.

  3. Antoine Vella says:

    A flaming torch the “light of the future”? They have never even heard of electricity then, let alone solar power.

    If Labour organised this scam – this friends of friends charade – on a measly emblem, can you imagine what they would do if they had to build a power station?

  4. ciccio2010 says:

    With this emblem, the resolution of the Fgura black dust problem is set to become more complex.

  5. Rover says:

    Quite clearly the Labour Party has a cash flow problem but that’s what happens trying to play Rupert Murdoch.

    They are running a huge media machine and their wage bill must be pushing their overdraft well over the limit. So there you have it, desperate times desperate measures.

    Think of a scheme, wrap it up in a seemingly respectable package and raise some dosh. Odious as it may be, the end justifies the means and Bob’s your uncle. Let’s keep grinding the wheels until the next election and the hell with the next dear leader.

    I am morally convinced, (dear Alfred), that this was nothing but a scam and a plug-a-gaping-hole-in-our-finances scheme.

  6. Grezz says:

    Maybe their insistence on using the torch as a symbol is simply to remind us of their past atrocities, such as the torching of The Times’ building some three decades ago.

  7. TROY says:

    Gadget the torch reminds you of the blow torch (heater) you once used when you locked a suspect in a locker at HQ and then lit an electric heater next to it, till the poor buggar screamed.

  8. Jelly Bean says:


    ‘When launching the exercise, Dr Muscat said the new design should represent an evolution to reflect the way the party was changing. “If we do not change internally we cannot aspire to be the movers of change in society,” Dr Muscat said, acknowledging there may be some in the party who would resist such a move out of nostalgia and emotion.

    The emblem had to represent the party’s values, he added, in the same spirit as described by former Labour leader and Prime Minister Sir Paul Boffa, who described the torch as a symbol of progress, love and a guiding light.

    The eventual selection of the emblem by party members would be the first such exercise, Dr Muscat said, announcing that next year a convention would be held whereby all members would meet to discuss and approve the guiding principles on which the party will contest the next general election.

    Labour chief executive James Piscopo, who is heading the project, described the exercise as a historic moment that will coincide with the party’s 90th anniversary.’

    What type of ‘guiding principles’ are we talking about here?

    And why did Joseph Muscat make an appearance only during the ‘launching of the exercise’?

    Will a ‘gabra ghall-partit’ be organised during the ‘convention’?

    Too many questions.

  9. J Abela says:

    It represents love? oh dear …Are they serious?

    …and 20,883 euro worth of text messages? And then they try and make us believe that everyone is forced to eat pizza on a Saturday evening instead of steak? What a bunch of buffoons.

  10. Pat says:

    “beating even Joseph Muscat whose leg must be giving him trouble again” –

    That`s why I like it here, because, although she discusses many serious and important topics, she is one of the few people who manages to change any of my bad moods, and actually make me laugh.

    Ma nafx minn fejn il-madoffi iggibhom. Nahseb min jafha personali, aqta kif tifqahhom bid-dahq jekk ikollha il-burdata. Typical Virgo.

  11. Malcolm Bonnici says:

    Scam? Do it the right way and stage a false competition to trick people in voting in order to collect funds? That would be ingenious. I think you are overestimating the capabilities of the Labour Party.

  12. S K says:

    If they are pulling these tricks when in Opposition, then God help us if they come to power.

  13. red nose says:

    22,ooo euro in SMS calls? I thought we were starving. If Labour managed to drum up that much in what seems to be a scam, I wonder what the amount will be when they start their election campaigning.

  14. Butterfly says:

    The ‘new’ logo looks more like an infant’s first attempt at finger painting in kinder class, or is that ‘reception class’?

  15. Alan Paris says:

    I can’t help but think that’s where one half of his moustache and the beard part of his goatee ended up (I’m sure that he’s got greys in there as well)…. is it just me?

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